Braised shanks with barley broth

  • Serves6
  • DifficultyMedium
4 New Zealand Lamb shanks
50ml olive oil
1 large red onion, peeled and sliced
1 head of fennel, trim the ends off, cut in half lengthways, then slice
1 Tbsp fennel seeds, toasted
50g pinenuts, toasted
8 medium flat mushrooms, sliced
125g barley
2 bay leaves
800ml meat stock
80ml soy sauce (or 1 teaspoon salt)
200g pasta (I used one called Troffi)
A handful of fresh parsley
1) Place the barley in a small pan, cover with 3cm of water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 20 minutes, then drain the barley.

2) Place a heavy-based pot with a tight fitting lid on the stove, one that holds the shanks comfortably. Add a few tablespoons of the oil and brown the lamb shanks all over. Remove from the pan, then add the remaining oil and sauté the onion and fennel until lightly coloured. Add the fennel seeds, pinenuts and mushrooms and mix well, then stir in the barley, bay leaves, soy sauce and stock.

3) Bring to the boil, then return the shanks to the pot. The shanks need to be covered with liquid, if not, add enough boiling water to barely cover. Put the lid on, bring to a very gentle simmer and cook for 90 minutes.

4) Cook the pasta until al dente in a large pan of salted, boiling water. Taste and adjust the broth for seasoning, remove the lamb and one cup of the broth and keep it warm.

5) Serve the barley broth as a first course in soup bowls. Then for a main course toss the freshly cooked pasta with the reserved broth and the parsley. Place it in pasta bowls laying a shank on top.

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